There’s loads & loads of websites online giving you tips and advice on how to wake up early. But our focus is not on worldly tips (which should be taken by all means, part of tying the camel ;)), our focus is on the spiritual means.)
My dear brothers/sisters, every day when you read Surat Al-Fatiha, at least 17 times a day, you recite the verse “You Alone we Worship, and You Alone we Seek Help from”: You want to worship Allah? “Yes!” You need His help then. You want to wake up for Fajr? “Yes please!” Guess what, you need Allah. You cannot, I repeat, cannot, wake up for fajr without Allah’s help. Now ask yourself the question, what can I do to show Allah that I truly and utterly want to wake up for fajr?!
Have you ever had days when you’re about to go to sleep, and you have this deep feeling that you’ll definitely wake up for fajr? And have you ever had days when you know for certain that you’ll oversleep? Imagine the two scenarios, which I’m sure some of us have gone through:
You feel high with Eman, you’ve prayed your witr, read some Quran, and even though you’ve got 2 hours to sleep till fajr, you’re certain you’ll wake up because you’ve set your mind, heart and body to make sure you wake up. In fact, sometimes you keep on waking in the middle of the night thinking it’s fajr time out of fear that you’re going to miss it. If you haven’t experienced this, think of a time when you had to catch an early flight or a bus/train, and think of how your mind, heart and body were switched on, and it doesn’t matter what time you slept, you’ll wake up.
There are days when deep down you really don’t want to wake up, you hope that you “oversleep” so you feel less guilty about it, and Allah may have mercy upon you and still wake you up, and that’s when the battle with the snooze alarm starts and the classic shaytaan trick “just 5 more minutes…” begins.
How do we maintain scenario 1 everyday?
With these 2 scenarios, one details a feeling deep down inside that you’re definitely waking up, and another where you know you won’t wake up because deep down inside you don’t want to and you’re not ready to take the fight against shaytaan of waking up in the morning.
Below I detail some practical and spiritual tools, that will help you in achieving scenario 1 all the time inshaAllah:
Know who Allah is: This is the key and number one tool to waking up for Fajr. If you know Who you’re worshipping, and you know that He requests that you get up in the morning and pray to Him, you’ll wake up. It’s our lack of understanding of who Allah is that makes us slump into scenario 2 all the time. Know your Lord, that’s key.
Sincerity: Be sincere about waking up for fajr, don’t just say to yourself: “InshaAllah, it’ll be nice if I wake up for fajr” be sincere about it, and say: “I will wake up for fajr” I find it useful sometimes to talk to myself about it before going to sleep and say: “I will wake up for fajr, i don’t care how, but I’ll definitely will!”
Wudu before sleep: Ibn Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger said: “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the Angel] says, ‘O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.” Do you think that such a person would be left to oversleep and miss fajr?
Witr Prayer + Dua: Make sure you don’t sleep before performing your witr prayer, and supplicate to Allah during your Witr prayer to help you wake up for Fajr, remember, “You Alone we Worship, and You Alone we Seek help from”
Read some Quran: Ending the day with verses of the Noble Quran will sure put your focus straight on waking up for salaat. Prophet Muhammad used to recommend that we recite Surat Al-Sajdah, and Surat Al-Mulk (Chapters 32 and 67) before going to sleep.
Remember Allah before you go to Sleep: This is part of the first point I made, and you can find all the supplications you need to recite before going to sleep here. You might need to print them off and read them off paper at first, but within a week or two you should be able to memorize them fully and just recite them before dozing off.
Remember the rewards attached to Fajr Salaat: from being safe from being a hypocrite, to having light on the day of judgement, to being under Allah’s protection the whole day, to having laziness removed from us that day and being productive. Remember these rewards and you’ll sure wake up.
Other tools I use that help me a lot:
Ask a friend/family member to wake you up: This is the number one rule for me to wake up. Get a family, friend, spouse to wake up, and help each other, if you get up before them, don’t be selfish and make sure they are awake too.
1.5 hours sleep rule: Aaaah.. here’s a secret trick, there’s a theory in the Sleep science that says that every human being completes an entire sleep cycle in 1.5 hours, therefore, if you can wake up at the end of a multiple of 1.5 hours (e.g. 1.5 hours, or 3 hours, or 4.5 hours..etc) you’ll wake up fresh and rejuvenated. Otherwise, you’ll wake up lazy. So if fajr is at 5am, and you sleep at 12am, make sure you set your alarm at 4.30am, because that gives you 4.5 hours to sleep. (Of course, if you take 1/2 an hour to fall to sleep, you might need to add that into your calculation).
Nap in the afternoon: Another lifehack, taken from the Sunnah and recommended by many, make sure you nap in the afternoon, for just 20 minutes! yup, just 20 minutes. Trust me, for the past 3 years, I’ve mastered the 20 min nap, and every time it never fails to rejuvenate me. If you need to train yourself to nap for that long, I highly recommend www.pzizz.com, a wonderful software that trains you for these short naps, it’s what I used to train myself.
Promise yourself a grand breakfast if you wake up for Fajr: I’m a breakfast guy, so if I wake up early, I sure like to have a big breakfast. Sometimes i look forward to my breakfast from the afternoon before, and just like a small reward, treat yourself to a massive breakfast in the morning. It’ll definitely set your day straight as well inshaAllah.